Mailbag: Rosenberg, Dead Arm, Schwimlocity, Nutrition, and more…

Before I start with some Q&A, I want to again thank you for your continued support each week.  I am humbled by your interest in my baseball career.

I have received a lot of questions about Rosenberg, but these 2 seemed to work nicely together.

Does it affect you when you see other prospects move up past you?  Notably seeing Rosenberg get double jumped over you to AA, or do you just take it in stride and can only worry about what you can do?- Jamie from Delaware

I come to almost all the Clearwater games, and with the exception of the hiccup you had in the middle of the season you have been lights out.  Rosenberg has done the same thing, but at a significantly lower level.  I think if you started the season in Lakewood you would have the same numbers, if not better then Rosenberg.  Selfishly, I am happy you are still here so I can see you pitch, but for your sake, I think you got the raw end of the deal.  What do you think?- Jim from Clearwater Fl

Let me start by saying I had the pleasure of playing my first professional season with Rosey.  I admire and respect him as both a pitcher and a person.  Jim, I am sorry to single you out, as I have received a dozen of emails of the same ilk, but with all due respect, I must disagree.  Over two seasons Rosey’s numbers have been disgustingly filthy. (That term can only be considered a compliment in baseball circles and is probably the highest compliment a player can receive)  I mean he hasn’t given up a run in over two months!  To be quite honest, he has been more consistent then I have this season, and I believe it has nothing to do with what level you are playing at.  I have pitched in 42 games this season.   Of those games I have been beaten once, and I have beaten myself six times.  During those six times, it would not have mattered if I was pitching in the Lakewood or the GCL, I still would have gotten it handed to me.  Only one game this whole season would have made a difference what level I was at.  I look at this as both a negative and a positive.  The positive is, to this point in my career, the level of competition has not really affected me.  When I don’t beat myself, I am fine.  The negative is beating myself six times is FAR too high!.   It is embarrassing and frustrating, but the mistakes I have made in those outings I have learned from, and not yet repeated.

As for Jamie, I will answer that question with two lessons my parents taught me.  First, my mom has always told me to only worry about things I can control.  I cannot control what the organization does, but I can control how I pitch.  I focus on pitching, and let the chips fall where they may.  Secondly, my dad has always told me, since I was probably 5 years old, “Son, in baseball, you can’t have too much pitching.”  It is not like there is one pitching spot in the major league bullpen.  I am one person working hard to get one of those 7 spots at some point in the near future.

In summary, I am happy for Rosey and wish him much success.

Do you get a sense of where the Phillies organization ranks in MLB in regards to the way they treat their players and in regards to them being pretty straight shooters?  I remember from ST this year Chan Ho Park was promised a chance at the starting rotation and that was one of the reasons he signed with the Phils.  Sure enough, he pitched well in the spring and the Phils honored their commitment to him.  Do you get a sense the Phils are good in this way?- Carl

As you know my experience is limited since I have only been with the Phillies for a year and a half.  I have also never been with any other organization, so my answer comes from a collection of spring training conversations I have had with multiple players who have played for multiple organizations.  As a whole, they said the facilities and the treatment of players is better with the Phillies then most other organizations.  One person, who had played baseball for 9 years, on 6 different teams estimated that the Phillies are a top 3 organization in all of the MLB.  The only other team that got consistent praise from players who played for them was the Yankees.  Also, from my conversation with players I played with in college, the Phillies seem to be the best of that group.  I hope that answers your question.

As a fan, I have heard the term, “dead arm.”  Can you give us and info and/or description?  We know a lot of our pitchers seem to be going through such a pattern midterm then pitching out of it.  Thanks.- Louis

Dead arm is one of the weirdest phenomenons in baseball.  Dead arm is the feeling you get when your body and arm feel great, but when you throw the ball, it comes out far slower then you expect.  Think of it as driving a car.  If you are driving at 45mph and you want to pass someone, you put your foot on the accelerator and get up to maybe 55mph to make the pass.   Imagine putting your foot on the gas with the same pressure and not going faster, that is what dead arm feels like.  You’ve accelerated using the same pressure consistently and achieved the same result, but now you accelerate and the car continues to go at 45 mph.     I have had a dead arm a few times and I overcome it by playing a lot of long toss and just airing it out.  I find that after a week of airing it out, my arm is alive again.

Hey Mike, quite a few of us at Phuture Phillies are curious about a scouting report on Mike Cisco. It seems like not too much is known about what he throws, his velocity, delivery, schwimlocity, etc. All we know is that he is an undersized 36th round draft pick who blew everyone away at two levels last year (including a 30:0 K:BB ratio at Lakewood!), and is having continued success at Clearwater. Can you offer us any insight?- Jeff O from Philly

Mike Cisco is the most polished pitcher I have played with in the Phillies organization.  His mechanics and his ability to repeat them every single pitch is awesome to watch.   He is able to do that because of his work ethic.  In my first mailbag, I talked about having a purpose every time you throw a baseball, and if you do that, each throw you get better.  Cisco has not thrown one ball without a purpose since I have known him.  We joke around with him for how serious he is during long toss sessions, but we are still here and he is in double A, so I guess the joke is on us.  He is the kind of pitcher that will never ever beat himself.  He throws strikes, and when he gets beat it is because he gets hit, not because of walks or mental mistakes.  That is how a 6 ft tall right hander that throws 88-93mph can be successful.
You mentioned in a previous post about the importance of having a reason for throwing a particular pitch.  Have you ever thought about formalizing that into a game theoretic strategy?- TJ

Every pitch I throw is predicated on the last pitch and the reaction I get from the hitter on that particular pitch.  I do not think that can be formulated into a theory for the simple fact that every single hitter is different.  Sure they might have similar tendencies, but to group them all together would be a mistake.  For example, if a hitter is late on the previous fastball he does one of two things.  He either speeds himself up to get ready for the next one or he stays on the same pace looking for an off speed pitch.  As a pitcher you try to guess what he is thinking by his body language and posture.  But to say when a hitter is late on a fastball the next pitch should be X , simply would not work.  Sorry to disappoint Tj.

Schwim, I love your Schwimlocity idea, it makes so much sense.  I hope you can perfect it at some point.  Do you feel like you have changed your delivery in order to achieve maximum Schwimlocity or do you just pitch the same as you did when you were in high school?- Robert from Philly

Most of you have never seen me pitch, so I’ll describe my mechanics in one word – unorthodox.  In fact our pitching coordinator told me, “the mechanics you have I would not teach to anyone, but it works for you, and you are able to consistently repeat it and have success, so we are not going to change it.”  I look the same as a normal pitcher at balance point, (when left leg is in the air, and all weight is on the right leg) but then I create a diagonal shoulder tilt and extend my left arm as if I was pointing at the sky behind the batter. (Think Andy Pettite, but instead of his elbow pointing to the sky it is my glove)  My pitching arm then comes through and replaces my glove.   Essentially my glove is blocking my release point, so the hitter has to pick up the ball at the last possible second.  If a hitter was looking at only my release point he would first see my eyes, which are 450 feet away, (before I start my motion) then he looks at my glove, 57 feet away, (middle of my motion) then the ball comes out at about 52 feet 10 inches.  My teammates at UVA called my pitching philosophy, “Glove to the heavens and let it rain!”

I started developing this motion at UVA with the help of our pitching coach, Karl Kuhn.  His main objective for his pitchers was to develop safe mechanics.  He believes your glove should be in between your pecks at release point to insure shoulder safety.  When I first got to UVA, my glove started at peck level, but at release point dropped to hip level.  He showed me some drills that had me start with my glove above my head so when I pulled down, my glove ended up in between my pecks at release point.  I started doing that, and when I faced hitters my ball seemed to jump on them much more than usual.  After what seemed like a million reps my motion became second nature.

I stumbled upon your blog (Phuture Phillies) today at work (um, shhh don’t tell anyone I often gallivant sports blogs while working).  I really enjoyed it.  I am a season ticket holder at Lehigh Valley, and while most people think I am just a pretty gal that goes to stare at the boys in the dugout, I could challenge any male fan in a baseball debate or discussion.  I am a dietitian so my question is about nutrition.  Where do you go for advice about nutrition and also, do many teams in the minors that you know of, have a dietitian on staff or someone to go to when needed?  Do you follow a diet of complete crap or do you try to eat healthy?-Jenna from Lehigh Valley

First of all, congratulations on being the first female (that is not one of my mom’s friends)  to email me with a great question.  Eating healthy is a lot easier said than done during the minor league season.  Our meals are spread out at crazy times.  Breakfast is at noon; I either make a ham and cheese omelet or have some Kashi cereal.  Then lunch is after batting practice at 5pm.  We usually get chicken, rice, and fruit.  I also eat a protein bar in between meals.  The next meal is not until 1030pm.  For dinner I either cook some wheat pasta with marinara sauce or go to subway and get the chicken pizziola sub.  That usually does not fill me up so I either have ice cream or blueberries and cool whip for dessert.  I think that is pretty healthy eating, but that is only for home games.  On the road everything goes out the window.  We eat fast food at least once a day, because it is the only thing around and we are trying to save money.  For dinner all the restaurants are closed so we usually order pizza every night.

As for where do I go for advice, I learned a lot from my college nutritionist at the University of Virginia and ironically his name was Mr. Skinner.  He really helped out the athletic department  in terms of getting everyone to eat healthy.  I do not know of very many minor league teams with a dietitian on staff.

As always, thanks for your great questions.  Until next time!

19 thoughts on “Mailbag: Rosenberg, Dead Arm, Schwimlocity, Nutrition, and more…

  1. Good stuff. Take it from someone that’s in the business – that was very well-written. You might have a couple of futures in store for you down the road.

  2. ****I forgot to add… If you have any more questions please feel free to send them to my email…****

    One day, people might even listen…

    While I agree that Rosenberg’s numbers are nothing short of amazing, you’ve done nothing to hurt your cause: 69 K and 17 BB in just 53 IP is pretty good.

    FWIW, pizza is actually fairly good for you all things considered. Yeah, its a tad high in cholesterol with all that cheese but its also got a lot of good things going for it (calcium, vitamins, protein, carbs, etc) despite all that. I’m not a nutritionist but I did take several courses in that area in college.

  3. another great article. you continue to impress me with your maturity and understanding of baseball. i am hoping for a long playing career for you, but you should have a long front office career either way. i hope Rube is reading your analysis.

  4. I forgot to add… If you have any more questions please feel free to send them to my email… x

  5. Also, from my conversation with players I played with in college, the Phillies seem to be the best of that group. I hope that answers your question.

    Schwim’s not only got a future as a writer, but as a politician too!

    Seriously though, great stuff, Schwim, and much appreciated. Regarding Rosenberg, I think of the two of you at the same time when discussing future Phillies relievers — both 2008 draft picks, both having tremendous success, both should start next year at Reading en route to a possible big league call up late 2010 or 2011. As NEPP says, Rosenberg’s numbers are great, but yours aren’t exactly shabby either (and at a higher level). Keep up the good work, and I’m sure you’ll both get there fairly quickly.

  6. ***Get some veggies on that pizza.****

    The tomato sauce is actually a good source of alot of stuff. Veggies cant hurt though.

    Bottom line, Pizza is far far better for you than any version of fastfood from a nutrition standpoint. There’s not much on the McDonalds menu that gonna make you feel good afterward.

    Subway is pretty good too overall. When you’re 23, as long as you are getting the nutrients and vitamins you need, your body can deal with the excess pretty easily…especially when you work out (i.e. play baseball) 8-10 hours a day every day for 9 months of the year (instructional leagues & ST added in). That amount of physical activity will keep your metabolism pretty high.

  7. Schwim, thanks once again, I look forward to these entries every time you post them. Well written and informative as always.


  8. Can I add this video? I was too curious after that description, and this was the best video I could find of you pitching.

    Thanks for the post, these are very interesting reads.

  9. I’m glad he answered the question about nutrition. I had wondered what the Phils provide in that regard. Anyone who’s ever travelled on business knows how hard it would be to eat 3 meals on $20/day. I mean, I usually get $50 and that stretches thin in some places… it’s no wonder why players hit up fast food and midnight pizza.

    PS I wish I’d meet a girl like Jenna at a pigs game. lol.

  10. Schwimer,

    Thanks for the shout out. Keep eating well and if you need anything, let me know.


  11. John K,
    Do not worry about leaving a video. My next article will be an inside the brain article in which I will have an inning uploaded and will explain what my thought process is during that inning.

    thanks for the help though

  12. great stuff Schwim! Get the Phils to hire someone to make meals on the road for your guys! Can fans send some care packages to you guys(with some decent food in it)? :o)

  13. Schwim,
    Hey man good to see you are throwing the ball so well this year man! Your boys from UVA did some big things this year as well, and I gotta say once those Noles got knocked out I jumped on that Cavaliers bandwagon very quickly. Nice blog as well man, keep the updates coming man it’s fun to see how you are doing. Take care and best of luck, I got you as a late round sleeper for my 2011 fantasy draft, going to win me the Holds category.

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